By Varak Ghazarian
Following a steady decline in coronavirus cases in January and February, Armenia is again seeing a surge in cases that began in early March.
As of March 11, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Armenia has reached 176,286, with 165,441 recoveries and 3,239 deaths. According to Armenia’s National Center for Disease Control, the current number of hospitalizations is 6,772, and Armenia has so far conducted 761,945 COVID-19 tests.
On March 10, 4,285 tests were completed, of which 748 cases were positive.
Last november, Armenia’s Ministry of Health announced that the government had made an advance payment for a coronavirus vaccine for 300,000 people or 10% of the country’s population, with the expected delivery date of mid-spring 2021.
On March 2, Gayane Sahakyan, Deputy Director-General of the National Center of Disease Control and Prevention, stated that Russia’s Sputnik V will become the first vaccine to be purchased by Armenia.
“At the moment, we are in the process of signing an agreement with Russia. The vaccines will likely arrive in Armenia within the next week. We are purchasing 15,000 doses and are planning to vaccinate 7,500 people at this stage since two doses are necessary for each person,” Sahakyan said.
Additionally, Sahakyan noted that Armenia is currently negotiating the purchase of another vaccine.
Armenia was set to receive its first shipment of coronavirus vaccines in mid-February, but that shipment has not yet arrived.
The World Health Organization and the European Union reported that they would spend $48.48 million over the next three years to ensure better access to COVID-19 vaccines in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine.
According to the Ministry of Health, COVID-19 vaccinations are set to be carried out in two stages. The first stage includes the at-risk groups, which comprises residents or employees of social protection institutions, health workers, people 65-year-olds and older, and people with chronic illnesses.